Fontaine's adds second day to Civil War, firearms sale What started out as a 500-lot, one-day auction of Civil War, Firearms and Militaria at Fontaine's Auction Gallery has now swollen to an 800+-lot colossus that will span the weekend of Aug. 15-16.
News-Antique.com - Jul 30,2009 - (PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – What started out as a 500-lot, one-day auction of Civil War, Firearms & Militaria at Fontaine’s Auction Gallery – a sale that would have been impressive at that – has swollen to an 800+-lot colossus that will span the weekend of Aug. 15-16, starting at 11 a.m. both days. “Two private collections were recently acquired,” said John Fontaine, “so we added a second day to accommodate these quality additional items in what will be an outstanding and historic auction.”
The auction will feature not one, but two 19th-century Gatling Guns, one of which is in truly spectacular condition and could fetch as much as $250,000; vintage rifles, muskets, revolvers and guns; cannons and cannon accessories; swords; drums; frocks, coats and uniforms; and an array of other items, to include a Confederate belt with buckle, tintypes and cartes de visites and many other items.
The undisputed centerpiece of the sale – as it was before the second day was added – will be the lifetime collection of the late George J. Bisacca, whose mainly Civil War collection was housed in the Eastover Resort complex in Lenox, Mass., scheduled to close in November. The aforementioned Gatling Gun is Mr. Bisacca’s, and the cannons and hundreds of firearms in his collection are no less impressive.
The Gatling Gun – a Colt M 1883 model – was named after the man who invented it (Richard J. Gatling) and is a precursor to the machine gun. This example (est. $150,000-$250,000) was made in 1883 and has 10 rotating .45 caliber barrels encased in a bronze jacket. It is fully operational and has been fired in showings at Eastover. The second Gatling Gun is a Colt Model 1874 (est. $100-$150,000).
Expected top lots among the rifles are a Confederate Fayetteville .58 caliber muzzle loader armory rifle, stamped 1864 (est. $20,000-$25,000); a Hudson Bay club butt flintlock muzzle loader fowling rifle (est. $4,000-$6,000); a U.S. 1840 flintlock .58 caliber rifle by W. Starr & Son ($3,000-$5,000); and a Winchester model 1873 lever-action saddle ring 44-40 carbine rifle (est. $2,500-$3,500).
Other rifles include a Model 1841 U.S. Harper’s Ferry percussion rifle, also known as a Mississippi rifle, .54 caliber (est. $2,500-$3,500); a W. Parker half-stock percussion target rifle, .50 caliber (est. $2,500-$3,500); a Parker Brothers DH grade double-barrel 12-gauge shotgun (est. $2,500-$3,500); and a .38-caliber percussion target rifle by A.P. Wood of New York City (est. $2,500-$3,500).
Ever dreamed of owning a cannon? There will be many in this auction, to include a Model 1861 Confederate ordinance rifle cannon (est. $50,000-$75,000); a Mann experimental breech loading cannon, one of only two Mann cannons built (est. $40,000-$60,000); the other Mann, a prototype smooth-bore cannon (est. $30,000-$50,000); and an 1837 12-pound cannon on iron carriage (est. $30,000-$50,000).
Other cannons will include a British 12-pound cannon, circa 1812, mounted on a post-Civil War naval carriage (est. $30,000-$50,000); a 3-inch 1861 Union ordinance rifle cannon with carriage mount (est. $30,000-$50,000); a Confederate coehorn mortar cannon mounted on wood block